Having emerged as the finest defensive prospect to come out of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) hockey since McGill’s Cathy Chartrand, it was only fitting that Katelyn Gosling was the first CIS player selected in the 2016 edition of the CWHL Draft. A three-time selection to the CIS All-Canadian team (including two first-team selections in 2013 and 2016), Gosling would lead the third-best defensive unit in CIS hockey during the 2015-16 campaign, allowing a miniscule 1.51 goals per game.
As the first player with a background in Canadian Interuniversity Sport to be selected in the CWHL Draft, which included a record-number 17 selections, (highlighted by the likes of Calgary’s Iya Gavrilova and fellow All-OUA selection Kristen Barbara), it is testament to her talent and impact as a game-changer.
“I am hoping that I can contribute in some way when joining the Inferno. I have been working hard over the summer so I am looking to do my part and contribute in any way possible on the team.”
Of note, it also adds to a memorable calendar year of 2016 that saw it begin with an invitation to the Canadian national women’s team training camp at Toronto’s MasterCard Centre.
Since first gracing the ice for the Western Mustangs in the autumn of 2011, Gosling appeared destined for greatness, gaining recognition to the OUA All-Rookie Team, the first of many honors to follow. Such a lofty ascent would take great shape in 2013, as she accumulated 26 regular season points, while also donning Canada’s colors in a glorious golden effort at the 2013 Winter Universiade.
Fast forward two years later, and Gosling would contribute towards the Mustangs reaching unprecedented heights with its first-ever title in women’s ice hockey, proudly hoisting the Golden Path Trophy in a defeat of the defending national champion Carabins de Montreal.
Unforeseen at the time, the national championship game between the Mustangs and Carabins would have a profound effect on CWHL Drafts to come. Carabins forwards Ariane Barker and Marion Allemoz (the first player born in France to serve as a captain at the CIS level) were selected by Les Canadiennes de Montreal in the third and fifth round.
Mustangs blueliner Brittany Clapham was a seventh round pick of the Brampton Thunder while goaltender Kelly Campbell, who was recognized as the MVP of the 2015 CIS playoffs also became a member of the Thunder’s draft class when she was selected 62nd overall.
Perhaps Gosling’s greatest quality may be her willingness to learn. Despite an exceptional hockey resume, Gosling is appreciative of the opportunity to be part of the Calgary Inferno, one of the elite teams in the CWHL, while gaining the privilege to learn from some of the game’s finest.
“It means a lot to me to be drafted by the defending Clarkson Cup champions. The team has quality structure and players. I am really looking forward to hearing about their previous experience and seeing the ways I can contribute to the system they have in place.”
The latest chapter in Gosling’s career brings with it many coincidences. Among them is the opportunity to call a long-time CIS rival a teammate at the CWHL level. A key factor in the Calgary Dinos remaining in the national championship picture, Iya Gavrilova was not just a rival of Gosling and the Mustangs in the postseason. Of note, Gavrilova opposed Gosling in the gold medal game of the 2015 Winter Universiade, which resulted in Russia gaining its first-ever gold medal in the history of women’s ice hockey at the event.
While the two shall work in cohesion towards making the Inferno the first back-to-back winners of the Clarkson Cup since Montreal (2011, 2012), there is no question that the impact of both players is testament to the remarkable quality of the CIS game, having helped the game grow by a quantum leap. For Gosling, the beginning of her CWHL journey shall see her follow in the footsteps of other elite CIS blueliners that have made their mark in CWHL hockey, such as Catherine Ward, the aforementioned Chartrand and a player who attained iconic status with the Inferno.
In the aftermath of the Inferno’s unprecedented Cup win, the sad announcement of former team captain Kelsey Webster’s retirement signaled the end of an era. As a charter member of the Inferno, dating back to its roots as Team Alberta, Webster was a star blueliner with the York Lions, who also gained All-OUA honors during her stellar career. Of note, Webster was also part of Team Canada’s gold medal entry at the 2009 Winter Universiade. While Gosling shall be among the defensive building blocks, certainly building on Webster’s legacy, it only strengthens Gosling’s love of the game and respect for the icons that have transformed the Inferno into a championship team,
“I am most looking forward to joining the group of girls on the team in Calgary. The players are incredible and have been through a lot of experience. I am beyond excited to learn and play alongside them. I am excited for the challenge and look forward to improving my game. I am also excited to be apart of the CWHL league and hope to contribute in growing the game of girls’ hockey.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Hockey Canada